As both a performing arts presenting organization and a commissioner, the Apollo develops large-scale music and dance programs, festivals, and theater works organized around a set of core initiatives that celebrate and extend the Apollo’s legacy through a contemporary lens. With music and comedy historically at its core, the Apollo’s comprehensive programming also extends to dance, theater, spoken word, and more, including special programs such as the world premiere theatrical reading of Ta-Nehisi Coates’s National Book Award-winning Between the World and Me, 100: The Apollo Celebrates Ella, the annual Africa Now! Festival, and the New York premiere of the opera We Shall Not Be Moved. Global festivals at The Apollo include the Women of the World (WOW) Festival and Breakin’ Convention, in addition to international and U.S.-based artist presentations focused on a specific theme, and multidisciplinary collaborations with partner organizations.
Since introducing the first Amateur Night contests in 1934, the Apollo Theater has served as a testing ground for new artists working across a variety of art forms and has ushered in the emergence of many new musical genres—including jazz, swing, bebop, R&B, gospel, blues, soul, and hip-hop. Among the countless legendary performers who launched their careers at the Apollo are Michael Jackson, Ella Fitzgerald, Stevie Wonder, Billie Holiday, James Brown, D’Angelo, Lauryn Hill, Dave Chappelle, Machine Gun Kelly, Miri Ben Ari, Sarah Vaughan Gladys Knight, and Luther Vandross. The Apollo’s forward-looking artistic vision builds on this legacy as it continues to advocate for the development of American culture and its impact worldwide.
APOLLO STAGES (OLD & NEW!)
Currently, Apollo Presents takes place primarily on two stages:
The Apollo Main stage - A 1,500-seat, state-of-the-art Theater; and
The Apollo Soundstage - A flexible, intimate space with audience capacity of up to 175.
However, 2020 will bring the Apollo’s official launching of two newly designed, state-of-the-art theater spaces in the Victoria Theater development project located a few doors east of the historic Apollo. The Victoria complex, a new 26-story building constructed on the site of the former Victoria Theater, will be a mixed-use facility housing retail, a hotel and affordable and market-rate residencies. Two floors will be dedicated for cultural use with office space for four cultural organizations (including the Apollo), a 199-seat theater and a 99-seat theater/rehearsal space.
These two new stages will provide for a significant increase in the range of possible programming – accommodating artists residences, longer production runs, expanded creative partnerships, and a focus on commissions and the development of new work.
The Senior Director of Programming will serve as a primary steward of the Apollo’s artistic vision, and help shape the strategic program direction of one of New York City’s most vital performing arts centers, and one of the world’s most recognized and celebrated artistic brands. The Senior Director will contribute to the development, implementation and management of all of the Apollo Theater’s artistic programs. This includes a robust and diverse annual schedule of music, dance, theater and comedy at the Apollo Theater, as well as touring productions; programs produced and/or presented cooperatively with other institutions; and programs of the Apollo’s Education and Community Programs.
A hallmark of the Apollo’s presenting program is its broad-based strategic partnerships with guest curators and cultural institutions – across disciplines. The Senior Director will be expected to maintain this collaborative way of working, allowing for deeply layered and unique projects, which keep the Apollo positioned as a leadership presenting organization.
Reporting to the Apollo’s Executive Producer, the Senior Director of Programming serves as a member of the management team. He/She will direct a professional staff of 7-10 members, and participate in charting the direction of the Apollo and ensuring its effective operation.
The Senior Director of Programming is expected to:
Thoroughly get to know the Apollo -- its history, mission, culture, structure, programs, operations, and audiences;
Establish strong relationships with the Executive Producer and all Programming Staff, built on trust and a shared vision;
In partnership with the Executive Producer, develop both annual and long term programming goals that address the Apollo’s mission and institutional objectives, and that clearly define the Apollo’s place in the cultural landscape locally, nationally, and globally;
Actively cultivate strong relationships with a broad range of artists; Attend various productions and performances for future consideration and on-going talent search;
Help produce and manage an artistically-significant and financially-viable program of quality performances that continue to define the Apollo brand; Oversee the selection of artists participating in Apollo Theater sponsored programs and presentations;
Provide both on- and off-site supervision of Apollo Theater programming department events and ensure professionally run programs that properly use theater resources, follow policies and procedures and provide the highest quality performance/cultural experience for the audience;
Think broadly and strategically about content development, producing programs with the potential for live presentation as well as distribution across the full range of broadcast and digital platforms;
Oversee partnerships with a broad range of programmatic collaborators and curators; Negotiate artist and partner relationships and contractual agreements; Manage programming research, timelines and schedules;
Build and maintain collaborative programming partnerships with internal programs – the Education Program and the Community Program—and with external arts and/or community organizations and individuals;
Hire, train, manage, and evaluate a strong Programming staff; Encourage each member’s professional growth and contributions; Maintain a culture that attracts, retains and motivates top quality personnel, both paid and volunteer;
Forge solid working relationships with the Marketing, Development, Finance and Operations staffs, continuing to bring forth everyone’s best thinking and efforts; Serve as the primary liaison to these departments providing overview of program plans and artist information; help ensure timely communication and problem solving across departments;
Help establish and manage the overall Programming budget, including both expenditure and earned revenue goals; Produce final project reports and program evaluations;
Be creative and entrepreneurial in pursuit of earned income opportunities;
Work in close partnership with both the Chief Operating Officer and the General Manager, ensuring the effective and timely execution of all Apollo productions (including back and front of house functions and other production operational needs);
Serve as an enthusiastic ambassador and spokesperson for the Apollo and its programs to a wide variety of constituents.
The ideal candidate must have a deep appreciation for the arts, in general, and for African-American culture and the culture of the African Diaspora (its history, power and potential), in particular, and should have the following experience and qualifications:
Commitment to live performance; with five to ten years of producing and/or presenting both small and large-scale artistic work;
Experience seeing productions from concept to stage; Proven ability to convert a vision into a fully-operational program, product or venture;
Understanding of the nonprofit business model relating to producing, presenting and touring;
A track record working with artistic partners (individual and institutional) in the development and presentation of work; and an understanding of the opportunities and challenges surrounding such models;
Experience with booking artists, contract development and negotiation, budget management and production management;
Knowledge of marketing strategies, and the ability to consider such as a standard part of programming;
Strong marketing knowledge of the performing arts and entertainment industry;
Senior–level experience developing and managing budgets;
Experience producing in a union house, and understanding of the financial model involved is important;
Excellent communication skills, both written and verbal;
Strong computer skills, including knowledge of Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Outlook;
Experience producing in a highly competitive urban market, with a track record of developing programs that differentiate and distinguish a brand, considered a plus.
About Apollo Theater
The legendary Apollo Theater—the soul of American culture and Harlem’s artistic town square—plays a vital role in cultivating emerging artists and launching legends. Since its founding, the Apollo has served as a creative and dynamic nexus of culture, race, and society. As both educator and entertainer, the Apollo is globally recognized for its articulation and projection of the African American narrative, commissioning, presenting, and convening public discourse for Harlem, the city of New York, and the world.